Around Latin America

July 27, 2012

-In the wake of violent suppression of growing protests, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala shuffled his cabinet again, picking as prime minister former human rights lawyer Juan Jimenez to replace ex-military officer Oscar Valdes. The move is likely designed at least in part to signal a more peaceful treatment of protesters going forward.

-On the sixtieth anniversary of the death of Eva “Evita” Perón, Argentina announced she will become the first woman whose image will appear on currency, with Evita appearing on the 100-peso bill.

-In the ongoing devastation of climate change, scientists suggest that rising ocean waters pose a serious threat to the world’s coral reef habitats, even while increasingly unstable temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean waters have led to a growing threat to sea turtles.

-Tim has this sobering reminder that there continues to be an “epidemic” of femicides in El Salvador, with 186 women murdered in the first four months of 2012 alone in a country with only roughly 2.3 million women citizens 15 or older.

-Meanwhile, São Paulo has witnessed a “surge” in murders and other violent crimes, with some analysts suggesting the socioeconomic inequalities and high cost of living in South America’s largest city as contributing factors.

-A pregnant teenager diagnosed with leukemia has again stirred the debate over women’s reproductive rights in the Dominican Republic, where abortion is illegal even in the case of saving the mother.

-Venezuela has announced it will be leaving the OAS’s American Convention on Human Rights, as well as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, putting the issue of human rights in Venezuela in a more precarious position.

-Speaking of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, it recently ruled in favor of indigenous peoples in Ecuador who had said that the government had ignored their autonomous rights when approving an energy project on the lands of the Sarayaku peoples without their consultation.

-In Argentina, the legal system is speeding up the trials of men charged with human rights violations during the so-called “Dirty War” dictatorship of 1976-1983 in an attempt to force aging perpetrators to serve time for their past crimes before they die. And former military leader and convicted human rights violator Jorge Videla said that the Catholic Church was aware of the regime’s use of “disappearances” of political opponents and “advised” the regime on the matter.

-Finally, members of the FARC in Colombia blew up a major pipeline, not only disrupting production but also causing pollution that will have a significant long-term impact on the environment and rivers near the pipeline.

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